Basics of Field Linguistics Masterclass

News and photos from the April 2018 workshop

You are faced with people at your field site who speak a language different from your own: how to proceed?

The LCRC ran the highly successful Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research Masterclass on 5-6 April 2018 at The Cairns Institute, JCU.

The Masterclass, organised and run by Dr Kasia Wojtylak, also included lectures by LCRC linguists, Dr Alex Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and the PhD students, Bai Junwei (Abe) and Nathan White.

The course was designed for anthropologists and other researchers who conduct fieldwork in areas where non-written and lesser-known languages are spoken. The course introduced students to reasons why competency in the local language could be important to their research, and gave them introductory concrete, practical methods for linguistic research.

Masterclass topics included:

  • introduction to language
  • language sounds
  • morphological analysis
  • syntax
  • ethics of linguistic fieldwork, and
  • demonstration of software for dictionary-building and language-analysis.

Nathan White, together with Bai Junwei, led a special event during the course – a monolingual demonstration with a speaker of non-European language – or, in other words – what do you do when you meet someone and you have no language in common? The workshop sparked a series of vibrant conversations among students discussing intricacies of the grammatical systems of world’s languages.

See the photos here.